Tele- is a Greek prefix meaning “distant.” Using the prefix for a growing field of healthcare technology shouldn’t be taken literally, however, or you’d be faced with the difficulty of justifying a misnomer.
Telemedicine can bring physicians closer to their patients than they ever imagined. You have access to your patient’s bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and even bathrooms, if that’s your bag. But as this brave new world opens its doors and arms to you, have you figured out how best to employ these technologies?
We wanted to help out. Read on to learn about telemed’s most valuable applications.
Chronic Health Management
Think of it this way – high-tech sensors, health and activity monitors, touch-screen technology and websites are used daily to record patient vitals, heart patterns, blood pressure and glucose levels. Imagine what this kind of access can do for chronic health management.
Equip telepatients with home monitoring systems that have multiple features that you can benefit from, such as weight scales, pulse oximeters, glucometers and blood pressure cuffs. Readings are logged into personal health records, and alerts are sent wirelessly to health-care providers when readings fall beyond their normal range.
Now you can manage your most delicate patients in their living rooms.
The more missed medications you eradicate, the more you assuage patient health risks and hospital admissions. Telemedicine allows you to check in with your patients more readily, which allows you to ensure they’re complying with medication regimens.
When equipped with ePrescribing mechanisms, telemedicine becomes the perfect tool to monitor prescription compliance.
However, billions are wasted each year in missed or wasted prescriptions, left to expire in your patients’ medicine cabinets, so it’s important to come up with a reminder system to ensure your patients are taking medication in a timely manner.
Storing-and-forwarding involves capturing medical data, say, diagnostic images or blood analysis results, to be stored and safely transferred to another physician or specialist for remote patient assessment.
Telemedicine allows high-resolution diagnostic images to be captured, stored and shared in both real time and at a later date, so it doesn’t require the presence of both parties at the same time.
Telemedicine can help with nocturnal disorders like deprivation or sleep apnea. Via telemed devices, you can monitor both investigatory and direct treatment. The communicative nature of the technology can provide reports on sleep patterns, body positions and breathing to polish data and metrics and refine treatment courses for patients.
Not only does this bring you into the patient’s bed, so to speak, which is naturally the most effective setting to treat these kinds of conditions, but it reduces the costs of extended hospital admissions and polysomnography examinations.
Bringing telemedical health monitoring into the home healthcare arena makes the possibilities for improving patient treatment endless. It’s up to those of us in the field to employ these innovations creatively.
Are you using telemedicine – namely remote patient consultations or in-home monitoring?